Re-visiting Ireland, Seven Years Later

Green fields of every shade imaginable  could be the reason Ireland is known as the emerald isle. The country itself is small, about the size of the state of Indiana. Population is 6.4 million with a million of the people living in Dublin. It reminds me of a jewel, truly an emerald surrounded by a setting of the Irish Sea.

Our group from First Baptist saw many things on the guided bus tour: Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Waterford crystal and the glass blowers, the National Stud Farm, but most appealing to me were the people and the landscape! I have never seen a more beautiful, cleaner place than Ireland, nor one with a longer, more fascinating history.

As I climbed the many, many stone steps to the vantage point on the cliffs of Moher, I passed an elderly man playing an instrument akin to an accordion. He was, of course, playing “Danny Boy”. And then, there was the friendly and talkative farm wife in town on vacation from Wexford. Courteous people who thronged the streets were always willing to stop a moment and tell visitors from Arkansas how to reach the shop which sold the tastiest scones.

We attended a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle just as the people did centuries ago. We ate without benefit of utensils but we did have a finger bowl! And, we were entertained by Irish singers. At Ross Castle, which has been restored to much the way it was in medieval times, the guide told us a lot about the life of the people who lived there. The many castles and towers dotting the landscape were meant as defenses against enemies and, believe me, there were enemies, including the Vikings, who were eager to take what did not belong to them. Life must have been extremely hard and precarious but the Irish are a plucky lot!

And, would you believe that I, a gray-haired mystery writer from Oklahoma and Arkansas of a certain number of years, climbed to the top of Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney stone? Well, I did! And I have a picture to prove it. Now, when I say “climbed” to the top of the castle, please don’t envision nice stairs that rise gently from ground level. The steps cut into the tower were, of course, stone and, since they followed the curve of the tower they were more or less wedge-shaped and, in places, sort of crumbling. They were also small, made to fit smaller feet, I’m sure. The name, “stumble stone” might have been a clue to their accessibility. We hardy souls who made it to the top hauled ourselves up by grasping stout ropes or iron handles and it was a very slow, extremely steep, and breath-taking climb. But, I figured a little extra help with finding just the right noun or verb when I wrote the cozy mysteries was worth the effort.



After all, I was in Ireland, in Cork,  and Ireland, being an enchanted isle, was bound to smile on me, one of its far-flung children. I trusted that I would not stumble and take a tumble thirteen stories to the ground! Receiving the gift of eloquence was surely worth the risk!


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